feet and claws and elegant shoes
toes pointed out
my ass a shovel
here is my swirling face
with twisted painted neck
and a crown of nails
I will work on one part today
leave the rest for you to wonder
why women reading are decoration
we don’t needs heads
strap my feet to the floor
if you walk to the left
my face disappears
– from “armature”
Is beauty really truth? Is truth really beauty? We’ve spent hundreds of years painting versions of beautiful women with disappearing faces, disproportionate figures, and behaviors that justify the overly misogynistic world in which we live. KMA Sullivan’s Inclined to Riot (Sibling Rivalry Press), is a fervent reminder that while generations change, the perception of woman does not.
It’s the spinning on a pole, or the fact that “things that are true / rarely behave.” It’s the age-old “expectation” that women are subservient, only here to look pretty until discarded as background or painted over or painted to look the way someone else assumes they want. It’s where women are only a “version of [themselves]” rather than actual self. It’s a world where men paint women, and women have no say. It’s the world in which she knows “you wanted to fuck her unconscious / and have her wake to your fists.”
But Sullivan is not looking to sit still. Instead, she pushes back at artistic expression. Her speaker is riotous, willing to fight for the real self, the real truth, the honest expression of beauty.
Purchase your copy of Inclined to Riot from Sibling Rivalry Press.